Video Hangover: Rockwell – “Obscene Phone Caller”

Twice a week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, we break ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“Obscene Phone Caller”
Rockwell, 1984

Some things to consider while you’re trying to figure out “If Alexander Bell were alive today/would he want the telephone to be used this way?”

He has 13,438 MySpace friends, but they’re all out to get him
On the scale of eccentric to batshit crazy, we always thought Rockwell was a little more Jermaine than Michael, but after studying his career we might have to reevaluate. Look at these song titles: “Obscene Phone Caller,” “Somebody’s Watching Me,” “Peeping Tom” — he even covered the Beatles’ “Taxman,” for god’s sake. Has anybody seen this guy in the last 20 years? Hopefully he got some of that good Paxil, and he’s not holed up in a mansion with a bunch of heavily-armed, androgynous bellboys, waiting for the apocalypse like a closeted Tony Montana.

El Debarge would never have put up with this kind of crap
Not sure why Rockwell is living in a hotel, but he seems to have made a few enemies among the waitstaff. Very sexy enemies. Perhaps this is common for a star of his magnitude, or perhaps he’s just a bad tipper.

Maybe we should just get caller ID
In the age of genital-enhancing Spam email, internet pornography and R. Kelly videos, it’s hard to believe that Rockwell could get so worked up about a little heavy breathing. An obscene phone call actually sounds exciting, in a retro way. Like a Playboy from 1953. These days, the only anonymous calls we get are from magazine salesmen, alumni fundraisers, and the policeman from The Village People.

Special shout out to reader Josh H. for suggesting this week’s Video Hangover. Got a tip for a video you’d like us to review? Email tips at stereogum dot com.